3 reasons why the Bengals lost the AFC Championship Game (officiating not included)

AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs
AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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2. Time management in second quarter

Down 13-6, the Bengals offense got the ball back on their own 5-yard line with a little over two minutes to go until half time. They held all three of their timeouts.

While it looked like the Chiefs picked off Joe Burrow deep in Bengals territory, the pick was overturned and the Bengals continued their drive.

Cincy got to the KC 44-yard line and used their first timeout with 43 seconds to go. Joe Mixon ran for three yards on the subsequent play and the Bengals burned another timeout with 39 seconds remaining.

Burrow connected with Tee Higgins on the next pass and the Bengals were on the KC 26-yard line and that's when they took their final timeout. They managed to get all the way to the KC 5-yard line but then had two incomplete passes and had to kick a field goal because there were only four seconds left.

Jay Morrison made a good point on the Hear That Podcast Growlin' podcast that perhaps Zac Taylor wanted to avoid doing what the Chiefs did in the AFC title game in this exact spot a year ago. Tyreek Hill was tackled short of the end zone and time expired, in case you forgot.

This could have factored in for Taylor and don't get me wrong, taking the field goal with four seconds left was the right decision but Cincinnati definitely botched their timeouts in the final minute. They could have spiked the ball at one point but burned all three timeouts when they could have held onto one and gone for the touchdown there.